tv Morning Joe MSNBC March 16, 2011 6:00am-9:00am EDT
>> peter, a lot of trump e-mails out there. talking about the situation. barbara writes, i want to see the abs. >> i want to see the abs. >> bring that thing out. i have several layers, barbara. this could take a while. rob, appreciate it very much. "morning joe" starts right now. there's no reason why technologically we can't employ nuclear energy in a safe and effective way, japan does it and france does it. >> all right. well, that was a little while back, in 2009. good morning, everyone. times have changed. it's wednesday, march 16th. welcome to "morning joe." with us on set, we have msnbc and "time" magazine senior political analyst mark halperin. the national affairs editor for "new york" magazine, john heilemann and once again, we have the director of the earth institute at columbia university, dr. jeffrey sachs.
good to have you on board, gentlemen. >> the "new york times" story, just absolutely gripping. >> we're starting with that. >> you go through the papers and, of course, japan, absolutely dominates the scene. there's "the new york times," "the washington post" talks about radiation fears. "the financial times" talks about how the radiation fears are shaking the market and the "daily news" talks about panic. i don't know if we're quite there yet as far as panic goes but the situation appears more bleak by the day. >> let's get right to it and we can talk about it. the world is watching, a small crew of technicians in japan this morning who are being called the country's last line of defense to prevent an all-out nuclear catastrophe. this morning, the group of 50 were forced out of the fukushima nuclear plan the for nearly an hour following a dangerous spike in radiation that authorities feared put their lives at risk.
already those workers who have been dousing reactors with sea water in a frantic effort to stabilize their temperatures, are being asked to endure up to five times the maximum radiation exposure aloud for american nuclear plant workers. today's elevated levels were apparently the result of yet another fire at the plant and indications that the containment vessel surrounding a reactor may have ruptured and released radioactive steam. this morning, there are reports that tiny amounts of radiation were detected in the fukushima water supply. japanese officials relesioned this picture of the number four reactor at the facility that shows a large portion of the building's outer wall has collapsed. "the new york times" also reports that warnings have been issued for decades about possible flaws in the nuclear reactors currently at the center of this crisis. five out of the six reactors at the crippled fukushima plan the are mark one designs, developed in the 1960s by general electric, one of the parent
companies of this network. according to "the times" scientists have warned if the cooling systems ever failed at a mark one reactor, the primary containment vessel would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated and released dangerous radiation into the environment. in fact, 35 years ago, a general electric employee and two of his colleagues reportedly resigned after becoming convinced the mark one was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident. still a spokesman for ge defended the technology this week, calling it, quote, the industry's workhorse with a proven track record of safety and reliability. okay. that is -- well -- >> it's unbelievable. and this is from "the new york times" lead story, braving fire and radiation to stop meltdown. they call through the labyrinths of darkness listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen
gas escapes from crippled reactors that may ignite on contact with air. it talks about the breathing through uncomfortable respirators. they carry heavy oxygen tanks. they go in, dr. sachs, until they have been exposed to so much radiation their skin may begin to fall off. they get doused with water and then they go back in. they may be risking their health and possibly their lives to stop an all-out nuclear meltdown. >> this is the worst of the worst case scenarios that we're watching unfold. it's ironic and it's true for decades no deaths, no disasters, other than the chernobyl disaster of that very flawed plant. and once in a 300-year earthquake, tsunami and then
this cascade of backup systems failing. and we just have to pray that they are able to keep the water on these rods and get these systems back under control. >> you bring up a great point about all of these events happening. i suspect nobody could have imagined a once in every 300-year earthquake and then the tsunami. but it's kind of like a pilot once told me, planes never crash because one thing goes wrong. they crash because five, six, seven things, just one after another after another. >> a cascade of events. >> a cascade of events. in the end this all comes down to the fact that the cooling system didn't work. the generators were on the fifth floor we probably would not be having this discussion. >> they had big retainer walls but not for this kind of tsunami. >> right.
>> and then all of the questions of flaws that may have been knowable and now more modern plants do it a different way. so it is one thing after another. >> these plants were all built in the '60s? >> yes. >> okay. it's -- so what does -- mark, we've noticed ar ed around the this week, reaction a bit different than some might have expected. for the most part people saying this has happened, this is terrible but this is not going to stop nuclear power in america. are we at a point now where americans are so desperate for different sources of energy, energy independence, that we're going to look past this? >> i don't think so. i think there's a notion that nuclear has to be part of the mix and certainly will still have a lot of support but it is going to be difficult to solve
the sighting of new facilities and the disposal issue hasn't been dealt with in this country. yucca mountain is still locked in place. i don't think people will want to see a huge investment in nuclear until we answer the question, what's going to happen to nuclear waste? >> john, you're a california guy. how -- it seems crazy now but there are nuclear plants on the san andreas fault, which is in the pacific ring of fire. >> you see that now and people look at it and it kind of looks insane, the maps that are going around and the number of nuclear facilities that seem to be in places that are vulnerable will cause people to rethink the questions. one of the things that mark said is true, one of the great challenges is going to be the sighting question. people i think, still, for the real estatens that jeff sachs was talking about, this is a really rare event. we don't have a history here, unlike oil spills, for instance, which happen frequently, not often in the united states but
happen all over the world all the time. this is something that is actually very rare and as you said, it only has happened because of a cascade of events. >> when it does, it's apocalyptic. i don't care if it's rare. look at this. >> even at the worst case of this, i don't mean to diminish the severity of this problem. it's not apocalyptic. it's not going to destroy the world or japan or even a -- >> what if it's in the water and in the food and in the soil? >> i recognize that. >> that's apocalyptic. >> there have been catastrophic events in a variety -- as a result of a variety of things around the world forever. we cannot avoid all risk or catastrophic risk in the world. it's not a possible way to live. >> let's go back to this summer where every day we heard about the bp oil spill and how apocalyptic that was going to be and how food supply -- a couple of times, dr. sachs, i bit my
tongue because i'm a gulf coast resident. i was thinking, the gulf's pretty big. the gulf is, you grow up there, you know. at some point it dissipated. i'm not saying i am granting no absolution to bt, i'm just saying when we're close to an event lake this, sometimes we overblow the impact of it and i think in the case like nuclear power, if three mile island, if we had not reacted the way we did to three mile island, think about how reduced our carbon footprint would have been over the past 30 years if we, like france, had moved forward aggressively and 75% of our energy needs were fueled by nuclear. we're talking billions and billions of -- >> i agree with you. i think there's a balance because obviously there this is horrific, terrifying. you don't want to sound callous for one second in the face of this kind of horror which is
real. on the other hand, it's so true that one can go all the way on the other side during the oil spill this summer, there were constant blogs every day about how you don't really get it because what this is really going to do is change the whole global atmosphere and it's going to have a global devastating effect. and people were putting out scenarios that were beyond, beyond, beyond worst case. i think here, too, it's somehow without being callous and without diminishing the reality of this moment, which is a huge struggle, one can't go all the other way and have the idea that this is the end of japan, end of the world and i believe also end of nuclear power, which after all, is a huge part of the global economy. it's a global reality. it's a national reality. the debate in this country is not whether we should have it or not. 20% of our electricity comes from it. we've had decades of no
disasters at all. and i think what is absolutely necessary to understand, it's not just the coal mine disasters and so forth, we are wrecking the climate every day. now, of course, unfortunately, part of our political system and part of our propaganda machine doesn't want to discuss that. that's the real issue. if we deny the climate change, the case for nuclear isn't so strong. if we go with the scientific reality, then the reason why nuclear has to be part of the mix is actually much stronger. >> right. >> "the wall street journal" is in a weird situation. >> no carbon footprint, zero carbon foot print from a nuclear plant. >> that's right. when "the wall street journal" tried to defend nuclear a couple days ago in an editorial that hi some sympathy with, because it absolutely lied straight out, said well, there are risks from nuclear this, there are risks from this and from coal it's coal mining disasters.
it wouldn't even say in that context, the truth about the science that you can't ignore the carbon footprint. that's what makes our conversation in this country so difficult, nuclear's there because of climate change. if you're also, as part of our political system does, lie about climate change, then you can't even understand what this debate is about. >> you can't eliminate risk and we have to have an energy policy. but nuclear is different. the dangers of a nuclear accident are different than the dangers of an oil spill in the gulf or a coal mining accident. >> or the continued destruction of the global climate, which is what's under way right now with food prices at all-time historic highs because of climate change. we're seeing it but we don't feel it the same way. >> what parent wants to put their child near a nuclear reactor. >> what parent wants their children to be dying of hunger, which is a billion people on this planet because of famine
and because of the heat waves and the climate destruction that now has driven food prices to world highs. but you can't show it on tv, because that's a slow, cumulative process of these coal-fired power plant which is are destroying the climate on the other side. >> that's the frustration. >> yes. >> of what you are trying to do in terms of educate people about the choices. because you can't cover. you don't get pictures like this to cover the doom that you're talking about. >> the slow, grinding destruction over time. >> all right. we have a lot to get to this morning. >> we do, we do. the budget showdown. >> uh-huh. >> mark halperin we brought your name up in vain yesterday. >> yes, we did. >> i know the president will walk through the door on entitlements and budget spending. >> the republicans are going to come through on this. >> was it november or december? >> i might have been wrong. >> the republicans are pretty
committed to doing it now. looks like they're going forward with it. >> really? good. >> i think the president has a chance to belatedly lead. >> it's perfect. it's not belated. >> we had mccarthy on yesterday, cantor's been on, boehner has been on. >> mitch mcconnell. >> they all talked about we're going to take on social security, we're going to take on medicare. that's significant. i don't bring up medicaid. >> he's not going to denounce them. >> we're not talking about denouncing them. how about just saying -- >> how about being real? >> we'll have to raise the retirement age, we have to take care of means testing. >> 26% chance he does. >> really? should we make a bet. >> from 100. >> let's make a bet. >> you're the nate silver of morning joe. 26%. >> the key question is in what time frame. the next two weeks, the next two months or two years? i have different answers for those questions whonchs are you
talking about, the president or the republicans? really? he's going to wait and then accommodate and then he's going to win this because it will be on the republicans. >> and the drum we've been beating now for two years on afghanistan, i tell you what, i saw a poll. >> i know. >> two-thirds of americans are starting to say this doesn't make sense anymore. >> i tried to get to it. >> it doesn't. >> dr. sachs. >> nobody in washington figured this out. we've been saying it for two years, you go out and you talk to people and we've given speech after speech, book tour after book tour, i've yet to meet anybody out there that thinks we have an end game in afghanistan. general petraeus was on the hill yesterday. we're going to talk about what he said about why we're there. >> in a few minutes, we have a live report from msnbc's chris jansing on the ground in japan. we talk to eric cantor, david brooks, al sharpton and ted danson. how's that for a lineup? >> that's big!
>> governor haley barbour takes a strong stance on afghanistan. first, here is bill karins. >> i love him. >> i want to hear bill karins sing justin bieber. i saw him. do the baby song. >> that's what you get for watching tv really early in the morning, mika. good morning, everyone. in times square, heavy rain is falling. the new york city area by far the worst of the morning commute out there. the heavy rain will continue in and around new york, the tricity areas of connecticut and new jersey through the morning. philadelphia, you're just about done with your heavy rain. it looks like it moves to hartford, providence and boston towards the tail end of your morning commute. up in central and northern new england, we have a wintry mix up there from albany northward. be careful heading out the door in areas of vermont and new hampshire, could have freezing rail rain to deal with. forecast today, heavy rain early this morning. this afternoon it clears out.
it's a decent day around d.c. a peek at the rest of the country, no problems. the middle of the country, this is your big warmup. chicago is looking great, kansas city, st. louis and new orleans. a sneak peek, tomorrow, st. paddy's day, looks nice for the parades in boston, new york and savannah. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. [ wind howling ]
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welcome one of our favorite guests, an nbc legend, ted dans danson. it's almost like a strobe effect. you can dance. can i get a beat? ♪ >> thank you for our first blackout interview. i think it went very, very well. let's turn on the light and make sure we know where we are. >> that's pretty funny. 1 past the hour. ted danson will be on the show a little later this morning. let's take a look at the morning papers. "new york times," the top military commander in afghanistan, general david petraeus testified yesterday about the value of a long-time relationship with kabul. petraeus raised the possibility of operating joint military bases with local forces long after foreign troops are scheduled to withdraw in 2014. we're going to have much more on
this in just a moment. it's starting. and "the wall street journal," congress' new republican leaders want smaller government, less spending and apparently, thank god i'm not in this class, sculpted abc news. >> what's going on? >> a group of young republicans meet almost every morning in the house gym to exercise to the p-90x workout routine. mccarthy said he wants to lose 28 pounds in three months. good lord. >> you know? >> i think i'm going to sit here for three hours and eat. what's next? that's supposedly -- that's really -- that's really intense stuff. i really respect them. >> that's hot. okay. >> can i have whipped cream with this? >> opening up the morning papers to the business section, "new york times," the federal reserve is staying on course, i'm ignoring your eating, on course
with job creation as its top priority. the fed said it's going ahead with plans to buy $600 billion worth of securities by june. it's also keeping a benchmark interest rate down near zero. >> i have nothing against ben bear thank bernanke. alan greenspan gets beaten for two years for keeping interest rates at a low level to artificially raise monetary values and ben bernanke is doing it squared. if alan greenspan destroyed the economy by doing this for ten years, 15 years, why is it we continue it? jeffrey sachs, again -- >> this is the fourth time through this. not just the second time. they keep doing the same thing, putting asset prices up, making financial bubbles. look what happened to gold. look what happened to all the energy prices. look what happened to all the commodities prices. they keep making the same blunder. >> jeffrey, how many books --
we've had authors come on here. >> we keep re-appointing these people time and time again. >> people write books on alan greenspan, he lowered interest rates during the financial crisis. bernanke is doing it more than greenspan did. well, it wasn't as bad then. after 9/11 we had to get the economy started again. there were times we did and he was maestro. again, i don't want to read the books on bernanke ten years from now, okay? we've already seen this movie. >> they have one playbook which is keep the interest rates as low as possible until something bad happens. and then whether it's the asian financial crisis, the dotcom bursting bubble, the subprime and they're doing it again. >> long-term capital, then it was 9/11. one after another. >> all right. time now for politico. with us now, the executive editor for politico, jim vandehei. >> most of the time when vandehei comes here with a
story, we're polite, we act like we're listening but we're not. it's vandehei. in this case -- this is a very important story that politico covers. >> actually it is. >> this might be a game changer. >> jim, politico reporting that mississippi governor haley barbour breaking with his republican rivals on several key issues. what are they? >> the big one he's breaking on them with is defense spending and calling for defense spending cut which is puts him at odds with romney and newt and others who called for the heritage proposal to increase defense spending. it puts him in line with tea party activists who think, listen, everything has to be on the table, including defense and entitlements. >> what about afghanistan, specifically he is going where
we've been saying republicans should go for some time. >> right. >> he's going there on afghanistan. >> going there as far as saying, listen, we have to be serious about considering troop reductions in that country. and probably pretty quickly. i think, again, there's a lot of momentum. if you look at polls for that popul popularly. republican candidates tend to be more hawkish, even more so than obama who i think has been very hawkish on afghanistan. haley barbour, 95% certainty that he'll be a candidate, carving out his identity in this field. >> i think game change will talk before a split. i think there is a big, big opportunity for any republican, any true conservative to say, enough. you know what, enough. >> it may take a republican. >> george w. bush and rumsfeld launched us on this wilsonian
afghanistan. >> there's a feeling of the tea party, it's not just that. we saw in the last republican race, we saw this birth of libertarian constituency that flocked to someone like ron paul. those people, there's a strong and growing part of the republican party that feels like this endless war needs to end. and in haley barbour's case, combining that with this austerity position on defense cuts helps him in terms of what he wants to run against obama on, which is not only the perpetuation of the endless wars but also that obama is not responsible on fiscal matters. >> mika, look at these polls over the past couple of years. >> this is it. >> over the past year we've seen these numbers flip. "the washington post" asks us if the afghanistan war is worth fighting. 31% say yes. 64% say no. >> and here is general david
petraeus testifying before the armed services committee yesterday. take a listen. >> we need to focus not just on the year ahead but increasingly, on the goal agreed at lisbon of having afghan forces in the lead throughout afghanistan by the end of 2014. >> we're talking about leaving and staying all at the same time and that can be confusing. >> i'm also concerned about whether we're sending mixed messages to both the american people and to the afghans. >> above your pay grade, there have been mixed messages about timetables for drawing down troops and about what our objectives in afghanistan should be. >> was that john cornyn talking about mixed messages? >> that would be cornyn-like. i said it, i didn't say it.
sorry, i just pulled one. the mixed messages -- >> you pulled a cornyn, didn't you? >> i know. just trying to be clear and honest. >> when you see the polls change like this, 64%, i'll ask you, mark halperin, and then on ho jim vandehei. you realize there may be political candidates saying maybe it's safe, going against the hawks and obama. >> there are people around the president saying we know this is not sustainable in ways they never have before. whether this is san issue in 2012, i think still remains to be seen. either in the republican fight or the general election. as a matter of policy, i think it's clear where this is headed now. >> are you surprised bit numbers? 64% in the poll saying afghanistan no longer worth fighting. >> i'm not surprised at all. i don't think anybody has the impression that things are going well or it's a winnable war. i think that's always been a huge problem from a policy
perspective but also as a political proposition for this white house. i think you're going to see a split inside the republican party because i don't think that it's necessarily the right thing for the party to do or the wise thing to do politically to say, yes, we're for staying there, for increasing troops, sustaining troops when the bulk of the american public wants troops out thereof, particularly when they see what's flairing up in the middle east and elsewhere. the country has other things to pay attention to. >> exactly. we have other things to pay attention to. in the 1990s when we were running congress, we kept talking about narrowing our focus globally. focus more on building of america than being globo-cops. i understand what happened after 9/11 and our response to 9/11. but we're basically globo-cops now. the second anything goes wrong, you have members of congress immediately saying go to libya, go to yemen, go to afghanistan. let's stay there for 20 more years. we can't sustain that. >> we know this has been a
fool's errand, spending more than $100 billion a year in afghanistan for nothing, with no ultimate purpose at all. >> to prop up karzai. >> under this circumstance makes no sense. i think if you look at another 64% in the same poll, 64% of americans want to cut the deficit, both by cutting spending and raising taxes. that's the word that never appears. any candidate that comes in and says i'm for doing both is going to occupy a huge center space. where are they? president scared? republicans are against it. that's what the american people want, they want balance. if they get balance, that's going to be the winning position. >> all right. >> all right. jim vandehei of politico, thank you very much. >> talk to you later. >> we appreciate it. great as always, jim. we wait all day for this. >> see, now that's a cornyn. >> when we come back, a live report on the tense nuclear
situation in japan. we will talk to chris jansing on the ground in tokyo. also ahead, eric cantor. keep it here on morning joe. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪ [ female announcer ] wake up to sweetness with honey nut cheerios cereal. kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy. and having a partner like northern trust -- one of the nation's largest wealth managers -- makes all the difference. our goals-based investment strategies are tailored to your needs
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live shot of the white house. the sun has yet to come up over washington this morning. dreary morning. welcome back to "morning joe," 36 after the hour. chris jansing, we've been covering the story and looking at the headlines across the board. a lot of conflicting reports. any clarity there. >> reporter: i'd like to say so but i'm not sure that there is. i guess it depends on your perspective. is this understandable, is it the fog of war? does the left hand not know what the right hand is doing? let's give you a couple of examples, mika, if i can. late last night, i'm talking east coast time, i'm sure you've
been reporting that the workers were taken out of the nuclear plant because radiation levels had gone so high. a government official called it an evacuation, that they were gone, it was too dangerous, but then they sort of backtracked on that and 45 minutes later said they were allowing the workers back into the plant. that is say critical difference. they really are sort of a last line of defense to keep the reactors cooled down. we had a situation where a cabinet minister from the japanese government misstated the levels of radiation by a thousand times. there was a question asked from a government official about what was going on and she seemed to indicate that the government was getting bad information from the tokyo electric power company. so, no, i don't think there is a lot of clarity except to say this, mika, there is still a dire situation at that plant. u.s. nuclear experts are being brought in to see if they can help. to do what they can.
but there is no doubt about the fact that there are a lot of people who are concerned we're moving toward a nuclear catastrophe, mika. >> we're hearing reports of aftershocks. what can you tell us on that front. >> reporter: i was on the air actually last night, just before midnight east coast time. we did a special at 11:00 on msnbc. we felt another one of those aftershocks. i think they said it was recorded at a 6.0. it was a pretty big one. and obviously, it's creating the sense of unease. you can't get away from it very much. but there's also a report that's coming out of southern california that knows a little bit about earthquakes, as you know. they've been looking at the impact of this. where we are in tokyo, there's three seismic faults that come together. the big headline in the "l.a. times" this morning is that this huge earthquake, this 9.0 is raising concerns there could be a major quake here in tokyo. so a sense of unease here in the capital.
i might add as well, apart from those reports about concerns over the earthquake, radiation levels here have been detected ten times the normal level yesterday. today they were saying 20 times. so definitely an increasing sense of unease around here, mika. >> mark halperin? >> just an update if you would, how much life has returned to normal in tokyo. if you didn't know about the loss of life to the north, how much would you notice things being different in tokyo. >> reporter: if you've been here before, you'd definitely notice it. the transportation is not up and running completely. not as many people on the streets. there are international corporations who have pulled people out. because people are having difficulty getting in from some of the suburbs, some companies are closing their doors. they also say they're doing it because they want to help conserve energy. so much has been lost with the shutdown of the nuclear power plants. definitely not life as normal.
some stores where you go into the grocery and the shelves have been cleaned out. people are concerned, they're stockpiling. the biggest sign may be at the airports, mark. there are still a lot of people, mostly foreigners, who are trying to get out of the country. >> chris jansing working round the clock in tokyo. thanks very much. we'll talk to you again tomorrow. >> sure. coming up, we'll dig into this morning's must-read opinion pages. plus, it might have been the most painful moments of the roast for donald trump. i can't imagine. that was horrific. i can't imagine what the most painful moments of that would have been. the whole thing was painful, it was mean, just mean. "the jersey shore's" the situation tries to give comedy a try. >> trump is always firing people. it's okay because he completely let himself go anyway. good abo. but sometimes i wonder... what's left behind?
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i think it's time to take a stand for taxpayers and for future generations. and i will not vote for the short-term continuing resolution that is come together floor of the house today to make that statement. things don't change in washington -- >> gentleman's time has expired. >> i will tell you the outrage is we're having to do this because the majority, the former majority when they had the majority in the house, the majority in the senate and the white house failed to pass an appropriation bill. they left the american people in this country with this pile of crap. they should not complain about how we try to clean this up. >> so -- >> well then. >> you know, i have to say, if republicans inherited a pile of crap from democrats --
>> yes. >> -- it was a pile of crap that the democrats inherited from republican. >> uh-huh. >> you don't normally see that in a will. >> no, you don't. >> but it was, though. george w. bush went ahead and decided to pass it along to barack obama who's decided to pass it along to the republicans. >> we'll see what happens. >> we call that bipartisan crap production? >> yes. >> yep. it's all -- well, i was going to say a worse word. i already said a bad word. >> it was just jim vandehei. i'm sorry. must-read op-eds. >> can we move on. >> i'm sorry to break down and interrupt. >> what's buzzing over there? are we having a meltdown? >> government by the week, "the new york times," this is the paper's editorial. if republicans continue to press
for cuts of tens of billions from discretionary spending, setting back the economic recovery largely -- the american people will be able to figure out who is at fault, responsible governing means agreeing quickly to a deal to finish out the fiscal year and then starting a serious talk about entitlement programs and taxes. the real causes of a soaring deficit. >> we have a lot to talk about here in this "new york times" editorial. let's begin with you, mark halperin. do you think barack obama will have the courage to do what bill clinton did, stare down the republicans and shut down the government if they keep passing one to another? >> i just don't get a good feel for where things are going right now. the house was able to pass the cr with a lot of republican defection. i still think there's a world of a huge agreement between the president, mcconnell and boehner on how to get things done. i think they want the president to step up and be more public
about where they're headed. i still think it can happen, despite the fact that there's no obvious path today to get there. >> and john heilemann, you have republicans, freshman republican and conservatives saying john boehner is not going far enough. boehner is being pulled one way while the president remains silent over there. i just -- you know, bill clinton had the guts to just say, don't send me any more crs, i'm going to veto them and shut down the government. we didn't believe him and we were wrong. he shut down the government. he vetoed one bill after another. i just haven't seen anything in barack obama over two years that would suggest that he would do that. >> the problem is for obama, clinton had a great opening in the behavior of newt gingrichple. >> right t. was easy to caricature the raerchss as being totally out of control because of the way newt behaved. >> a different gaffe every day. >> yes, petulant and kind of
crazy. >> boehner is behaving the way boehner does which is not at all like newt gingrich. >> they're talking as far as entitlements like the earnly sane ones in washington. >> correct. it's harder for him to have -- to feel comfortable taking that political risk. that was a bat that'll clinton knew he could win. i think obama is not as confident right now that he would win this battle. >> right. >> because republicans are not behaving extremely enough. you might not like their policies but they're not behaving in a way that allows obama to paint them as cooks. >> that's a good point. >> bill clinton put him in the back of the plane while he was flying to a funeral going to israel. i can tell you, that really didn't help our cause. jeffrey sachs, we agree you have to be responsible on medicare, medicaid, social security and we differ on the degrees of the danger for those programs. i think the one thing we both
agree on is the fact that you can't balance this budget by slashing 10% of the budget. you cannot slash discretionary domestic spending without causing real problems with local governments, state governments. without causing cops, firefighters, infrastructure, r & d, education, the things we need to invest in. so the question is, are we going to get both parties to start acting responsibly? barack obama bragging about cutting home heating oil assistance to the poor. >> the answer is, we're not. actually i think we're going to reach an agreement which is going to increasingly gut what the government does. we're faking it. >> wait, wait. >> oh, boy. >> you're talking about the 10%? >> i think that's what they're going to go after. >> huge middle-class entitlements. >> there are two things, remember. big ticket items like military spending, the number one item. >> right. >> like the war in afghanistan. >> $2 billion a week.
>> like our extremely costly health care system where we have to go after what's happening in the private sector, which overcharges for health in this country. >> okay. then there's the tax side. >> let me ask you about the tax side. >> the billionaires and millionaires have walked free in this country for 25 years. >> let me ask you about that. >> this is what the american people overwhelmingly say. they say by two-thirds -- >> i want numbers. dr. sachs win want numbers. would you be pleased if we went back to 1990 levels and got rid of the bush tax cuts and the upper income types would pay 39%. would that be sufficient? >> i think we have to do that. we have to clear a lot of loopholes, go after the corporate tax which is have gone down by 2 percentage points of gnp. all our big companies are parking money in the cayman islands. it's a game. we have to stop that game. we have to do high-end personal income taxes and corporate. >> i'm asking are the clinton numbers good enough for you in
that area? i think it was 39.6%. >> i think it's the package on the high end which includes the loopholes. it's not just the top rate. it's what they get to deduct, how they get to hide the money. our biggest companies are operating out of the cayman islands. it's shocking. this is a game. >> yes. >> we lost 2 percentage points of gross national product in corporate income tax collections because it's all hidden away. and they want to lock that in. this is what the republicans -- actually, both sides will not talk about. >> both sides. >> this is bipartisan and that's what's so phony. the american people -- >> eric cantor, next. they'll match the miles you've earned on your airline credit card -- up to 100,000 -- on a new venture card. it's unbelievable. believe it. venture card miles are good on any airline, anytime. it's like an upgrade from this... to this.
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look at him. he's pimping. not a lot of guys can pull off wearing a hat like that. people are hating on him because trump is always firing people. it's kind of okay because he completely let himself go anyway. but your wife is hot. the best part is she married you for love. yep. she loves money. oh! what are you going to do? >> come on, let him do his thing. come on. look. >> wow. that was a bad situation.
he was practically board ooed offstage last night. >> i went to this roast of donald trump. i did not think it was funny. >> my husband's photographer took a picture of me. that was me the whole night. jim was howling the whole night. >> i was horrified. >> donald trump had a chance to respond to this terrible thing. here it is. >> thank you. what a great honor it must be for you to honor me tonight. the truth is, i specifically hand picked these recession era basic cable nobodies so that the city i love, the city that never sleeps, could finally get a well-deserved nap. they're all losers and i love associating with losers.
because it makes me feel better about myself and makes them feel better about me. winning -- >> oh, my goodness. >> it was the crassest thing i've ever seen. >> you were offended, weren't you? >> jim loved it. >> they were howling. i left. they were crying. they were laughing so hard. but it was crass. >> was it the profanity that got to you. >> it was profane. it was beyond profane. you couldn't imagine the things that came out of these people's mouths. >> which was worse, the profanity or the skitology? >> was there a seven-second delay? >> you couldn't even begin. >> "the apprentice" ratings are up. how's that, donald? zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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there are some dangers for radiation release that could affect the plants. i've been assured that any nuclear release dissipates by the time it gets even to hawaii, much less to the mainland of the united states. >> all right. welcome back to "morning joe," a live look at capitol hill and washington, d.c. mark halperin, john heilemann, still with us and dr. jeffrey sachs as well, still at the table. a lot going on. we're going to start with japan. the international community is focused on a small crew of
technicians this morning who are fighting to prevent a meltdown at the crippled fukushima nuclear plant. this morning, the group of 50 were forced out of the facility for nearly an hour following a surge in radiation levels that authorities feared put their lives at risk. so who are they? one of the best descriptions of this so-called faceless crew is in this morning's "new york times." that writes in part, quote, they crawl through the labyrinths of equipment in utter darkness pierced only by their flashlights listening for periodic explosions and wear white full-bodied jump suits with snug-fitting hoods that provide scan protection from the invisible radiation sleeting through their bodies. already those workers who have been pumping sea water into reactors in a frantic effort to stabilize their temperatures are being asked to endure up to five times the maximum radiation allowed for american nuclear plant workers. today's elevated levels were apparently the result of yet another fire at the plant and
indications that the containment vessel surrounding a reactor may have ruptured and released radioactive steam. japanese officials released this picture of the number four reactor at the facility that shows a large portion of the building's outer wall has collapsed. it is fairly unbelievable to look at that. in its first public assessment since taking over the afghan war -- you want to move on to afghanistan? >> yes. >> general david petraeus says the uss on track to hand off security to afghan forces by 2014. testifying before the senate armed services committee yesterday, petraeus said, taliban momentum has been halted and reversed in several areas but acknowledged the progress is, quote, fragile and reversible. petraeus' appearance came on the same day a new "washington post"/abc news poll showed that nearly two-thirds of americans say the war in afghanistan is no longer worth fighting. meanwhile, mississippi governor
haley barbour is trying to distinguish himself from his potential 2012 rivals by endorsing cuts to defense spending and questioning the u.s. presence in afghanistan. speaking in iowa yesterday, barbour said americans should not think afghanistan will adopt a western-style democracy. we'll stop there. >> mark halperin. this could be a big break. this could be something that pat buchanan and i have been talking about for a long time. a republican who steps forward who takes a nonbush, nonwoodrow wilson approach to international affairs could be rewarded in a big way in republican primaries. barbour has stepped through that door first. why? >> and there's no figure in the field now, even perspectively with a military background like a john mccain, bob dole or george bush 41. it's safer in the party now. if you can come at it in a muscular way, say i'm for american security, getting the
troops out of this unwinnable war in afghanistan. haley barbour has his fingers on the polls. in order to do well he has to be an anti-establishment populous figure, i think. >> right. >> this is an issue that the polls show there's a lot of support. that's the national breakdown. in the republican party there's more support for the war than the public at large. >> in western iowa, you take this to western iowa, new hampshire, mika, you talk about this, entitlement reform, you get serious, haley barbour is going to find that he has an audience if he follows through on this. >> could change the conversation. let's get to the budget now, the house voted yesterday to approve a short-term spending bill with $6 billion in cuts. the measure is expected to ab proved later this week in the senate. shifting the next deadline for a government shutdown to april 8th. and joining us now from capitol hill, republican congressman from virginia and the house majority leader, representative eric cantor.
i know house republicans, eric, with holding an interactive forum on jobs today. we want to hear about that? just a moment. >> first let's talk about the budget. majority leader cantor, are you going to do a continuing number of crs or will you have trouble with fresh henn and other conservatives who at some point will face a showdown with the president? >> joe, good morning. good morning, mika. listen, i think very clearly we all want to get this thing resolved. i'm hopeful this is the last stop gap measure we're going to pass and we can get about the business of resolving this year's fiscal issues so we can get on to the work we're supposed to be about for next year. >> we've heard reports that freshmen and other fiscal conservatives are growing increasingly imparent with leadership. is there any friction between leadership and the fresh or is that overblown? >> joe, if you look at the numbers, 75% of the freshmen class supported the stop gap
measure. i think there is concern throughout the country, just as there exists concern within our members in congress that we have to get this done. >> yes. >> listen, we all know that this is all about job creation and we know that the kind of discretionary cuts in these crs pales in comparison to the problem. as we've talk before, the republican budget will reflect our commitment to tackling the real issues of entitlement reform. i think most people want to get on to that business, because that's really how we're going to turn this economy around and begin to see jobs again. >> i have to say, mark halperin, we talked about entitlement reform and tackling the big issues. i have to say over the past several weeks it has been striking how the republican leadership has stepped forward and started speaking responsibly about these issues. and i just wonder when the president follows. >> well, it's an excellent question. i think he's going to let the republicans go first. >> what are you smirking about, heilemann? i'm not setting him up. this is fascinating.
>> he's insisting republicans go first. >> he's doing what you said he should do about a year ago. >> ask the congressman. >> he's the majority leader, let's stop interrupting. >> given that you are all going to go first, what do you think the likely month or two-month window is where you'll be able to strike a deal if one is to be struck on entitlement reform and tax reform? are we talking about the spring, sujer, fall, next year? >> that really is a great question and where is the sweet spot. we'll be unveiling our budget next month. you know, the budget committee under paul ryan is hard at work right now, trying to get straight on the numbers and really the prescription on how we're going to deal with the entitlement reforms. let's just say this, the bottom line is we're going to protect today's seniors and those nearing retirement. but for the rest of us, 54 and younger, we believe strongly we have to come to grips with the fact that if we're going to save these programs for the next generation, they're going to look a lot different.
and so i'm hopeful once this document comes out, once we pass it in the house we'll see reaction on the part of the president and the democrats in the senate. because so far, what we've heard out of leader reed is that social security doesn't even have a problem. so we really, i think, need to be honest with the people, confront these problems and get on to the issue of tax reform. all this is about how we're going to attract more business to start investing here to create jobs. that's what all this is about. this is not just we want to go and cut programs, we are trying to do this so we can reinstill confidence in the private sector to see jobs created. >> john heilemann, no problems according to harry reid with social security? or cowboy poetry. right? >> those two things are big favorites of congressman reed. >> sacrosanct.
>> in terms of following up on mark's question, you are commendably talking about taking the lead on entitlement reform. i'm curious as to whether republicans are going to be at all open in those discussions to either taking on significant cuts in defense spending or to doing anything on the tax side that democrats will be happy with, which is to say are the republicans going to be open to increasing revenue? >> well, what you've seen, i think, in the short term discretionary discussions we've been having is that defense has been on the table. i know i've said all along everything ought to be on the table. secretary gates has said that the pentagon needs to do more with less. we just have to. that's the reality here. i think long-term in terms of the tax debate, the president has said he wants to bring down corporate rates because there's a sense that it is injuring the competitiveness of our country and its businesses. do i think we can see eye to eye on that. off yougsly the devil is in the details. we want to broaden the base. we want to ensure we are
competitive within the other industrialized countries and the ratings. and so i do think there's common ground. dave camp in the ways and means committee is out there already with hearings and i can see commonality in where we're trying to head. obviously big, big issue that we're going to try and focus on. >> congressman, dr. jeffrey sachs has a question for you. >> congressman, hi. a couple questions. good to see you this morning. >> good morning. >> you were quoted as saying we have to cut the ocean agency, the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration because we can't afford it. that's the agency that monitors tsunamis, that's the agency that monitors earthquakes. were you quoted right? because that can't be right. >> listen, let's look at the facts here. the facts are that noaa suffered one of the biggest cuts in the last several years of any agencies. so what we said is back two years ago, it received a huge bump-up, like a 25% increase in
taxpayer money. i think in this current year, it is allotted over $4 billion. what we did is we allowed for half of the big bump-up to still stay in place at noaa. there is no prescription in the language allocating those funds saying that noaa should or shouldn't take away the emphasis on take away moneys from programs that protect the safety and well-being of our citizens. if the point is, that we think that we ought not have early warnings for hurricanes or tsunamis, that's just not true. the facts really don't bear that out. >> congressman, they're going to have to squeeze some absolutely crucial monitoring systems under these budgets that are being proposed right now. i hope you take another look at that. >> the notion -- that notion, listen to what you're saying. you're saying there's no other aspect of the operations of that agency that could actually use some efficiency. and could implement things that
could save some money. the whole aim here in this town is to do what every american is having to do, that's to find ways to be more efficient and to do more with less. that's the purpose here. >> congressman, you said everything is on the table. i was wondering whether going after some of the income of the billionaires is also on the table. because that's the one thing that seems never to get discussed, that we have the richest people in the world enjoying more wealth than ever before because of all of the tax breaks, all of the loopholes, all the money parked in the cayman islands. are you going to go after that also? >> absolutely. if we have people intentionally evading our tax system, absolutely. listen, that's where the president and we republicans can see eye to eye. we want to bring down rates. in order to do that we'll have to simplify this code, which means address some of the loopholes. you're absolutely right. >> all right. congressman, before you go, tell us about the interactive jobs forum. what's going to be happening today? >> we're going to have, mika,
individuals who are running some of the very largest companies in this company to some of the smallest, and they're coming to washington and we're going to listen to these job creators to hear what it is that they want to see happen so that they can invest and create jobs. we're going to have an interactive element to this. there will be several remote locations, there's going to be a live twitter wall. it is say forum that will be dedicated to members of congress listening to job creators, rather than speaking to see how we can spend taxpayer dollars to create jobs. that's the difference, that's the change in culture that we're trying to effect here in washington. >> all right. >> sounds fascinating. >> can you find it? >> i'm looking for it. >> is that it with the big muscles? >> it is. we're very concerned about one thing, mr. majority leader. >> yes. >> we're very concerned about this picture that we showed earlier. let's see if we have it in the paper. put the picture up.
>> we did the morning papers. >> it's a picture of mccarthy and aaron flexing with the p09x. >> i have not seen the picture you're referring to. listen were we're all about good health here. we had a stint on the mall. we look forward to seeing you out there again. >> i'd love for you to show up. just don't do that thing. >> mccarthy is flexing muscles. you know, aaron shock will show his abs to anybody. listen, thank you so much for being with us. good luck with your online jobs forum. house majority leader eric cantor, appreciate it. >> okay, thanks. coming up next, this is big, the reverend al sharpton will join us on the set. we'll ask him why some are comparing him to sarah palin. >> what? >> and ask him why he takes that as a big compliment.
>> no what? >> you can smile, reverend. here's bill karins. new york city up no southern new england, that's where the heavy rain is and the worst of the morning commute. philadelphia, you're clearing out after your heavy rain this morning. all of this is going to slide to the north. boston, you should get into it in about an hour. the green on the map is the heaviest of the rain, the yellow and orange is where we have downpours and thunder. the forecast for today, rain in new york city, boston your rain will end by about noon today. the rest of the country, what a beautiful day for chicago, st. louis and kansas city. nice from dallas to new orleans. all of florida look goods. if you're traveling to the west coast, still bad weather from sacramento, san francisco up to seattle. st. paddy's day looking very, very nice. the east coast, nice warmup for everyone including our friend in boston. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. -d-d-d-d-d-d
the ncaa tournament this year is seen on many different networks besides cbs. take a look at this. >> march madness is finally here. be sure to catch all the nonstop action on cbs, tbs, tnt and trutv. >> in today's world because of change -- >> the ncaa tournament, check your local listings. >> how about a shotted to head. >> you'll see a lot of sports reporting over the next three weeks but nothing close to as good as this. >> number eight. who won yesterday, number one,
nbc. >> great defense. vermont had only six points in the first half if you can believe that. that's pretty crazy. >> that is quite -- yeah, that is quite -- >> it's called chemistry, you can't create it. it's either there or it isn't. >> that is cute. >> that is cute. >> that's cool. 21 past the hour. joining us now, we have the president of the national action network, reverend -- >> i am so excited. >> reverend al sharpton. good to have you back. >> look how nicely dressed he is. >> the man every morning says he wakes up and he gets on his treadmill to see me. >> look at him. president. >> is this the part of the morning that you pledge to do the listening half hour? >> the listening session.
>> you promised you were gort going to start a listening session. when i got the call to come in this morning, i specifically said i want to come in during the listening half hour of joe. >> i talk an you listen. >> i do that from 9:00 to 9:30. >> they gave me the wrong time. >> we can't tell you that part. >> mika sits chris licht and i down for 30 minutes and yells at us. it's fun. >> sarah palin has been called the al sharpton of the republican party. what do you think? >> i'm not going to get distracted into an argument with sarah palin. i have a lot more on my mind than that. the interesting part of it, i'm sure the writer didn't mean it as a compliment to her or me but notwithstanding, the interesting part is, the challenge that the republicans have, sh this was their vice presidential candidate. she wants to represent grievances which many of us in
civil rights do. the nature of what we do is erase grievances. i don't know if the writer made a discovery there. she's gone to another level of that. i think if the challenges, if she's going to be serious, she has to expand that in the policy. we're dealing with education policy, health policy. she's not been able to do that. when you have people that are the leaders of the party, starting to say things like, you know, lexington and concord is in the wrong state, it starts making them look less than serious. i think that's the real challenge. >> her favorability ratings are going down in the republican party. john heilemann, you're a game change boy. why is that? why is the game changing for palin? >> i think she's had a hard time. the turning point for her, i think was the gabrielle giffords shooting. i think for a lot of people she
had been in a precarious position before that. most of many republicans and obviously many democrats thought the way she injectioned herself into that on the morning of the memorial service, putting up that facebook post, it just seemed incredibly narcissistic. >> we now know roger ailes told her not to do that. >> the pontificator and the establishment memen establishmentarians, they pour scorn on them to excommunicate them from the society. a lot of people are pom ppous morons herself. >> all righty then.
>> she, unlike me, who was an outsider coming in, she was an insider. they have to deal with that fact. it's a different trajectory. it has to be a different psychologically for her. i think you're right. they have to be charged with this was the person that you guys supported to be sitting one step away from the presidency just three years ago. >> by the way, we're talking about a weekly standard column by matt labash. you can read about that in "the weekly standard." obviously you worked with gingrich on education. >> tour. work is -- >> you said you could see deep into his soul. >> his love of country. >> you loved him. beyond that, you're fighting on another front and that is changing no child left behind. making sure it gets reformed the right way. >> i think that's a very, very serious subject that we have not
talked enough about. as you know, our national network convention is in a couple weeks in new york. one of the things we're going to concentrate on, as no child left behind runs out, what do we look at as the education policy in the country. how do we deal with the teacher acountability question? how do we deal with tenure and all of the things that have been raised that now can be raised in a policy level into new law? i think polls have not been discussed enough in terms of how we reform teacher tenure. i think how we deal with equal funding and education cuts, all of this needs to be discussed. you're going to come with a very serious policy statement out of our convention and a lot of others will participate. i think as i moved around the country dealing with the question of collective bargaining and other things, education is not being discussed enough and we are going to have a real, real, i think, pivotal
movement when no child left behind expires. what's next? what happens? i think the president has tried to get people's attention on that. we're not looking at that. >> i think the controversy over collective bargaining that we've seen across the country will seep into this conversation and hopefully intersect in a good way. you were in new haven this week where there was a rally. the mayor there has laid off 80 people? >> the mayor has laid off people there, collective bargaining not an issue there but we were there supporting the fact that these people ought not be laid off without continued negotiations and discussions. >> they laid off 16 police officers in new haven? >> the irony was, the union fought with me on police cases couldn't deal with the fact that i actually came to town supporting that the police shouldn't be laid off. lee saunders asked me, i went to cleveland and toledo. i do not think we can unilaterally dismiss people or lay people off and not deal with
the fact that there has to be shared sacrifice. >> it works the other way, too. look at corey booker who tried and tried to get the police unions to work with him in newark. they simply refused. they put him and the people of newark in a terrible position. >> the people on the street. there was a huge anti-violence rally i spoke at not long ago with some of the people of kiss radio in new york. some of the people on the streets are concerned. even though we want police to be held accountable, we want them there. i remember years ago, i wasn't an early supporter of mayor booker. i've become an avid supporter of the fact that he's stood up in the gap to try to make a difference, both in the education area and in policing. whether we agree on all the particulars or not, i think on this one, he has showed courage as a chief executive. >> mark? >> what would you like to sees apart of deficit reduction on the federal level? the big components? >> i think i'd be close to sachs. i'd like to look at defense,
clearly. i think you have to deal with the whole question of the tax structure. i think with the continual av d avoiding of dealing with the corporate as well as the high income personal -- >> yes. >> i started making money as a radio announcer and cleared up a lot of my taxes. it's not in my personal interest. i'm saying we need to pay more. >> do you think there need to be reducks in spending on medicare and medicaid? do you think the social security system needs to be changed? >> we think, i don't want joe to faint on national television but i think we have to look at responsible ways to do it. i don't think we can just do it with an ax but i think that for the future of those programs continuing, they have to be discussed. do they have to be cut? no, joe, but they have to be discussed. >> i think if you look at the demographics, i think just talking about them will be sufficient. >> that will do it. >> let's just talk about it. now come on! >> only if it's during your
silent half hour. >> he's looking forward to it. >> i've been to your convention. very moving. very moving. we're concerned, though, about who you're honoring this year. >> we're honoring muhammad ali. >> ali is fine. >> ali, good. that's fine. >> magic, we love magic. >> samuel jackson. >> oh! >> he's the greatest, are you kidding me. >> jim brown. >> i love jim brown! >> and the media award will be going to phil griffin. phil has stood up and given a counterbalance to a lot of where the media is going in terms of the issues that affect communities. i think all of the media needs to grow on diversity. i think he's filled up areas that have been devoided. >> this is where other people talk and you listen. reverend al sharpton, thank you very much. >> thank you. tomorrow, actor bradley keeper, adorable -- >> he is adorable.
>> and former senator bill bradley. >> he's adorable, too. >> speaking of absolutely adorable, just adorable -- >> the best. >> in just a few minutes, ted danson will be here. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] unrestrained. unexpected. and unlike any hybrid you have ever known. ♪ introducing the most fuel-efficient luxury car available.
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to meet our energy needs, the administration believes we must rely on a diverse set of energy sources, including renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power. we look forward to a continued dialogue with congress moving that agenda forward. >> 35 past the hour. a live shot of the foggy washington, d.c. welcome back to "morning joe." quick look at the news. japanese officials say that workers evacuated earlier from the crippled japanese nuke plant are getting ready to return. workers had reportedly been taken about a half mile from the fukushima complex when radiation levels were feared to be too high. that temporarily suspended efforts to cool the overheating reactors. moammar gadhafi forces have taken a strategic eastern city in libya, 100 miles from the opposition capital in benghazi. that key victory comes as colonel gadhafi's son warns the country's revolt will be over in
the next 48 hours. speaking with supporters in tripoli yesterday, the elder gadhafi called on opposition rats and accused nations of wanting to steal libyan oil. a u.n. resolution has been introduced aimed at stopping gadhafi from bombing civilians. at his briefing yesterday, jay carnie said a no-fly zone will be a serious military action. >> wouldn't it be fair to say the united states is still sitting on the fence on this? isn't it time to make a decision, yes or no. >> you tell me as an american citizen would you want your president not to consider all the implications and ramifications of taking -- this president will always be mindful of what the mission should be engaged, what it entails, the risks it poses to our men and women in uniform and it's likelihood of having the kind of impact that we set out for it to
have. and that is his responsibility as commander in chief. and i would suggest to you that is what leadership is all about. >> and according to hillary clinton, if there is to be a no-fly zone it must go through the united nations since she says there is, quote, no u.s. support for it. security forces in bahrain are carrying out a large-scale assault against thousands of anti-government protesters today in an effort to move them oust the main square in the country's capital. witnesses say at least five people were killed as riot police fired tear gas into the air and clashed with demonstrators. the offensive comes one day after bahrain's king declared a three-month state of emergency in the island kingdom. speaking in cairo yesterday, hillary clinton earthed bahrain to negotiate a peaceful resolution. up next, ted danson is here. keep it right here on "morning joe." >> so, ah, your seat good?
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welcome back to "morning joe." 41 past the hour. >> this is really big. i know i say that with every guest we have but this is really big. >> i'm a huge fan. >> first year of "cheers," three people were watching. >> we were dead last. >> 70 out of 70. >> a miracle we're here. >> who was it that said i'm going to renew the show that's
70 out of 70. >> brandon tarnicoff. >> i said i had nothing else to replace you. >> that will do it. that's why you think we're still here. >> all right. obviously way beyond "cheers" ted danson is an emmy and golden globe-winning actor. he's hear to talk about his new book, "oceana." >> we'll also talk about "bored to death." >> are we bored to death? >> no. it's his new show. >> the only way to zrish this book just flipping through it, there's incredibly beautiful images and heart breaking stories along side them. >> yes. that's true. for some reason for the last 25 years, i have been that guy standing outside the tent saying
thank you for watching "cheers" please come in and let me introduce you to this marine scientist. i was walking on a beach with my two kids, about 8 and 4. we came across a sign in santa monica that says beach closed, water polluted. you look out, it was gorgeous. trying to explain to kids that age, what was wrong, hi no idea. i met an environmental lawyer and really out of niavite. yet it became a great little organization called american oceans campaign in washington and l.a. and then merged with oceana about ten years ago. this is really kind of everyone i've met along the way and the story, the basic headline is we're overfishing our oceans to the point where some scientists say conceivably you could fish them out commercially. >> one of the biggest problems
is bicatch. talk about that. >> they bring up the nets, these huge, massive nets and maybe after fish "a" but they've caught all this other fish. it goes overboard, dead or dying. one-third of what we catch. >> they're after shrimp, they pick out the shrimp and sometimes one-third or one-fourth gets dumped overboard. >> it's one fourth bicatch with sh ripple. >> we don't see it. that's the problem. we as a country have done very well when the pollution is on land or when the environmental crisis is on land. we don't see what's happening 20, 50, 100 feet below the surface. unfortunately most americans just don't care. >> plus, you can get a piece of fish anywhere in the city. what's the problem? how can there be a problem? when you go to south america or
africa, those markets, those fish markets are getting completely wiped out because another thing we do is we make farm salmon down in chile that we eat up here. you have to grind up three or four or five pounds of wild fish to make one pound of farm salmon. it will come up to us slowly but down south, it's happening already. >> other things pointed out in the book, it's along the lines of what we were talking about with dr. sachs earlier, he'll be back, but you know, we don't see the destruction that we're creating. we don't have, you know, horrific pictures before our eyes unfolding quickly. >> it's not like a nuclear plant melting down. >> if you look at some of the facts in this book if things don't change, by 2050, the great barrier reef will be dead. and by 2080 island countries, some of them will be under water. >> could be. >> could be. >> this is not doom and gloom. but there are very serious problems but you absolutely can
do the right thing. countries know what to do. the world knows how to change this. and the book addresses that also, what you can do as individuals. it is serious. you should know what the problems are but don't shy away from this book because you don't want any more hassle in your life. it tells you what to do. one of the things i love about oceana, the organization is, you can click here on the computer, become a global activist and click here and do something that makes a difference in the world in your insane day, take five minutes and you can make a difference. >> it is inspiring to look at. for shallow people like me, they're really pretty pictures. >> you're not shallow. >> shallow waters are just as important. >> just as important. >> just to go to the fact that the book is not gloom and doom, you should talk about how what's incredible about it is, there's a huge problem with overfishing and yet it's actually a problem that can be solved pretty
quickly if you do the right things. i heard you on the radio yesterday talking about the story with the somali pirates. tell that story. it's fantastically interesting. >> cnn did a story where they had the fishermen in kenya, big grins on their face, little wooden boats and the fish were just about jumping into the boat. the reason was for the last four or five years, the huge industrial fleets have stayed out of those waters that cause all the problem because they're afraid of somalian pirates. which is, i don't know, mixed message. you don't want to applaud the pirates but nevertheless, it proves if you leave fish alone they will rebound, most of them. >> and quickly. that's extraordinary how fast if you do the right thing, rapid thing change, the populations can repopulate themselves rapidly f. you have a no-take zone, actually around the no-take zone, all of a sudden becomes abun dant because populations explode. >> let us just say bloggers at home, please relax. ted danson is not endorsing
somali pirates. >> thank you. >> all we're trying to say is, if you leave something alone for a few years, nature has a wonderful way of regenerating itself. this message brought to you by sane bloggers. >> this has to be done -- you can do it country by country. the other good news is you don't have to create some huge international organization that is unwielding and -- >> we had a democratic congress, nancy pelosi, harry reid, barack obama in the white house for years. >> i hang with them all the time. >> what did they get done on this issue in the two years democrats controlled congress? >> nothing. >> democrats suck. sorry. >> you scared me for a minute. >> there's a ten-second delay. >> no. >> what have the democrats done? you know, i don't want to go democrat, republican because bush actually was really good on ocean issues.
other republicans have not been that good. but i don't really -- if it becomes a democrat/republican thing, we're screwed. so to answer your question, he's been very good on offshore oil. he was bad and scared me for a second when he lifted fthe moratorium. i'm very much in favor of putting the moratorium back on offshore oil drilling. one of the scariest things that's happening in our oceans is that when you burn so much fossil fuel, it sifts down, the carbon dioxide sifts down in the ocean, it changes the ph balance and becomes asidic. the little critters at the bottom of the food chain can't make shells because the calcium won't bind together. you can see how you could have a collapse of the ocean. >> ted, we talked about this before. you're very, very hip with the kids.
very hip. >> bored to death, man, that is such a great show. your character is like most executives here at nbc but your character is just absolutely deplorable. i love it. is that not one it. is that not one of the funnest characters you've ever played? >> sweet, innocent, deplorable. >> right. >> i love that he's this jaded man who's gone and seen everything and still wants to hang with the kids and life is brand new every day. >> and your wife is joining the cast? i love her. >> me, too. she's the best. you all scared me at first. then said, no -- >> no. >> you're fast. >> we love you. girlfriend. let's just talk about somebody -- is that show over
the hill or what? it's over. >> i should say that he didn't invite us back this year which probably -- >> awkward. >> didn't find you convincing ago yourself. >> now, it's a great show. we loved you participating in that. >> changed the game. >> yes, he did. >> reminisce about your role in body heat? >> you can. my joints and knees start to ache thinking about it. >> ted danson, thank you so much. the book is oceana. we'll be right back with more "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. [ male announcer ] nature valley sweet & salty nut bars... they're made from whole roasted nuts
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you're a new york landmark, which means it's only a matter of time before you build some tacky monstrosity and put your name on it. >> look at our economy. barely moving, gasping for air and desperately clinging to life. very much like larry king. the only difference is with larry, we have a never ending supply of gas. never ends. this great country of ours was built on its entrepreneurial spirit and that spirit is best demonstrated by none other than snoop dog. his is a tale of do rags to riches. >> okay. there it was.
>> the book, he said wouldn't it be funny if you and mary were on a romantic crews and you saw in the water your books floating around. >> stay with us. mark halperin, john heilemann will be with us onset. we'll be back with more "morning joe." [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. motrin pm.
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good morning. a live look at a wet and chilly, miserable morning over manhattan. >> i want to see the sun. >> it has been kind of a rough winter. back with us on set, mark halperin, also, john heilemann and the director of the earth institute at columbia university. dr. jeffrey sax. >> "the new york times" story, just gripping. the papers again, you go through the papers and japan absolutely dominates the scene. there's "new york times." "the washington post" talks about radiation fears. the "financial times" talks about how those fears are shaking the market. "the daily news" talks about panic. i don't know if we're there yet
as far as panic, but the situation appears more bleak by the day. >> the world is watching a small crew of technicians in japan this morning who are being called the country's last line of defense to prevent an all-out ats fee. this morning, they were cast out for an hour following a spike of contamination that put their lives at risk. already, those workers who have dousing the reactors with sea water is being asked to endure up to five times the amount of exposure allowed. today's elevated levels for the result of another fire at the plant and indications that the containment vessel surrounding a reactor may have ruptured and released radio active steam. this morning, there are reports that tiny amounts of radiation were detected in the fukushima
water supply. this shows a large portion of the building's outer wall has collapsed. "the new york times" has issued for decades about flaws. five out of the six reactors at the plant are mark one designs developed in the 1960s by general electric. one of the parent companies of this network. according to the times, scientists have warned if the cooling systems ever fail, the primary containment vessel would probably burst and release dangerous radiation into the environment. in fact, 35 years ago, a general electric employee and two colleagues reportedly resigned after becoming convinced the mark one was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident. still, a spokesman defended the
technology calling it quote, the industry's workhorse with a proven track record of safety and reliability. >> it's unbelievable. this is from "the new york times" lead story. they crawl through the equipment and other darkness listening for periodic explosions as hydrogen gas escapes and it talks about them breathing through uncomfortable respiratorrespira go in until they've been exposed to so much radiation that their skin could begin to fall off. they get hosed down. they know they're going to get sick, and go back in. we are at this stage where 50 workers may be not only risking their health, but their lives to
stop an all-out nuclear meltdown. >> this is the worst of the worst case scenarios that we're watching unfold. you know, it's ironic. and it's true that for decades, no deaths, no disasters other than the chernobyl disaster of that very flawed plant and then once in a 300-year earthquake tsunami and then this cascade of back-up systems failing. we just got to pray that they are able to keep the water on these rods and get these systems back under control. >> you bring up a great point about all of these events happening and i suspect nobody could have imagined like you said, a once in every 300 year earthquake and then the tsunami. but it's kind of like a pilot once told me. planes never crash because one thing goes wrong. they crash because five, six,
seven things, just one after another. >> a cascade of events. >> in the end thrks comes down to the fact that the cooling system didn't work because the generators -- i mean, the generators were on the fifth floor. we probably would not be having this discussion. >> they had big retainer walls, but not for this kind of tsunami. and then all of the questions of flaws that may have been knowable and now more modern plants do it a different way, so it is one thing after another. >> so, these plants were all built in the '60s? okay. it's -- so what does mark, we noticed around the table this week, reaction a bit different than what some might have expected and for the most part, people saying this is happened and terrible, but this is not
going to stop nuclear power in america. are we at a point where americans are so desperate for different sources of energy, energy independence, that we're going to look past this? >> i don't think so. i think there's a notion that nuclear has to be part of the mix and there still have a lot of support, but it is going to be difficult to solve the citing of new facilities and the disposal issue hasn't been dealt with. yuca mountain is locked in place and not going to happen. i don't think communities are going to want to see new facilities until we answer the question, what's going to happen to nuclear waste. >> john, you're a california guy. it seems crazy now, but there are nuclear plants all on the san andreas fault, which is in that pacific ring of fire.
>> it kind of looks insane. some of the maps that are in places that are vulnerable are going to cause people to rethink those questions. one of the great challenges with going to be the citing question. it's not -- people i think still for the reasons that jeff was just talking about, because of the fact this is still a really rare event. we don't have a history here, unlike oil spills, which happen frequently all over the world all the time. this is something that is very rare and as you said, it only happens because of a cascade of events -- >> it's apock liptic. i don't care if it's rare. >> even in the worst case, i don't mean to in any way diminish the severity, but it's not going to destroy the world or japan or even -- >> but what if in the water, food and soil?
>> i recognize that. there have been catastrophic events as a result of a variety of things around the world forever. you can't even avoid catastrophic risk in the world. it's not a way to live. >> let's go back to this summer where every day, we heard about the bp oil spill and how that was going to be. a couple of times, i bit my tongue because i'm a gulf coast resident. i kept thinking, gulf's pretty big. anybody that's been out in a boat, you grow up there, you know. at some point, it disapated. i'm just saying when we're close to an event like this, sometimes, we overblow the impact of it and i think -- if three mile island, think about
how reduce d over the past 30 years if we, like france, had moved forward aggressively. 75% of our energy needs were fueled by nuclear. billions and billions. >> i agree and i think there's a balance. this is horrific, terrifying. you don't want to sound callous for one second in the face of this kind of horror, which is real. on the other hand, it's o is true that one can go all the way on the other side during the oil spill this summer, there were constant blogs every day about how you don't really get it because what this is really going to do is change the whole global atmosphere and have a global devastating effect and people were pointing out scenarios that were beyond, beyond, beyond worst case. i think here, too, it's somehow without being callous and without diminishing the reality of this moment, which is a huge
struggle, one can't go all the other way and have the idea that this is the end of japan, end of the world and i believe also nuclear power, which after all, is a huge part of the global economy. it's a global reality. it's a national reality. the debate in this country is not whether we should have it or not. 20% of our electricity comes from it. we've had decades of no disasters at all. i think what is absolutely necessary to understand, it's not just the coal mine disasters and so forth. we are wrecking the climate every day. unfortunately, part of our propaganda machine doesn't want to discuss that, but that's the real issue and if we deny the climate change, the case for nuclear isn't so strong, but if we go with the scientific reality, then the reason why nuclear has to be part of the mix is actually much stronger.
"the wall street journal" is in a weird situation. >> no carbon footprint. zero carbon footprint from a nuclear plant. >> that's right. when "the wall street journal" tried to defend nuclear a couple of days ago in an editorial i had some sympathy with, it absolutely lied straight out. it said, well, there are risks from nuclear this and from coal, it's coal mining disasters. it wouldn't even say in that context, the truth about the science that you can't ignore the carbon footprint. that's what makes our conversation in this country so difficult. nuclear is there because of climate change. if you're also as part of our political system does lie about climate change. then you can't even understand what this debate is about. >> you can't eliminate risk and you have to have an energy policy, but nuclear is different. the dangers of a nuclear accident are different than that
of an oil spill or a coal mining accident. >> or the continued destruction of the global climate, which is what underway. we're seeing it, but we don't feel it the same way. >> i understand, but what parent wants to put their child near a nuclear reactor? >> what parent wants their children to be -- the climate destruction that has driven food prices to world highs but you can't show it on tv because that's a slow, cumulative process of these coal fired power plants which are destroying the climate on the other side. >> that's the frustration of what you were trying to do in terms of education people about the choices. you can't cover -- you don't get pictures like this to cover the doom that you're talking about. >> the slow, grinding destruction over time. >> we have a lot to get to this
morning. >> we do. the budget showdown and mark halperin, we brought your name up in vein. the president's going to walk through that door -- >> i know the republicans are going to lead like they said they would on this. >> february, right? december. >> wait a minute. >> it might have been wrong, jeff. >> you're never wrong. we just exaggerate what you say. >> i've looked. the republicans are pretty committed to doing this. >> really? >> i think the president has a chance to belatedly lead. it's clear he doesn't want to lead now. >> it's perfect. >> we had mccarthy on yesterday. cantor's been on. bane eer's been on. we're going to take on social security. medicare. that's significant.
>> he's not going to denounce them. >> we're not talking about denouncing them. we're going to have to raise the retirement age, look at how we pay for health care. >> 26%. >> should we make a bet? >> down from 100. >> you're the nate silver of "morning joe." 26%. >> what time frame? >> and by the way -- >> is he going to lead in the next two weeks, months or years? i have different answers for those questions. >> who are you talking about? the president or republicans? then he's going to accommodate and win this because it will be on the republicans. >> and the drum we've been beating now for two years, mika, on afghanistan. i saw a poll, two-thirds of american rs starting to say, this doesn't make sense anymore. zwl because it doesn't. i will tell you why. nobody in washington figured this out. we've been saying it for two years. you go out and talk to people and we've given speech after speech, book tour after book
tour. i have yet to meet anybody out there that thinks we have an end game in afghanistan. >> when we come back, we're going to talk to david brooks about his new book "the social animal." and we're going to talk to the film director of "ace ventura" and "liar liar." >> but first, here's bill karins. no, he didn't get fired. >> good morning, everyone. at least not yet. let's talk about what happened yesterday. we saw cloudy skies, but it didn't rain. the rain is really falling this morning in the northeast. airport delay rs okay. i thought new york would have issues this morning. so far, not that bad. no major delays at any of the big airports in the east. and with the heavy rainfa falli, it's amazing. commutes slow around new york city. the rain is heading up towards the hartford area. new york city, another hour of rain, then it should clear out.
boston, your rain should be over by noon. d.c. not bad after overnight rain. middle of the country, your spring warm-up. beautiful weather from kansas city to new orleans and dallas. the west coast is woet. the showers will continue tomorrow in san francisco for st. patrick's day, but the east coast for all the parades, a fabulous early spring day. you're watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks. y y y [ male announcer ] your hard work has paid off.
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gilbert gottfried was fired from his job as aflac duck. check it out. have you seen this company's aflac? >> yes, even the ducks are like, enough. thank you. aflac insurance. there's two kinds of insurance. regular insurance and aflac. why am i here if you already fired me? what is happening. you got the duck with the insurance and the -- really good options. we'll see. >> with us now from washington, columnist for the "new york times," david brooks. also the author of "the social
animal." >> fascinating. >> it is a fascinating book and i'll get into the reason i think it's fascinating, but first, i want to start with a statement that you make in this book that has mark halperin scratching his head. the most demanding thing we do is buy furniture. >> that's actually true. i'm sure mark's living room is fascinating. what we try to do when you go to a furniture store is imagine how the sofa's going to look in your living room. scientists have looked into this because they've looked into everything, and how you should make that decision. you should let the sofa, the thought marinate in your head. take a shower, a nap, distract yourself for a few days then go with your gut. on some things, your rational intelligence is really smart, on some things, your intuitive
decisions. >> you just convinced mark you were correct. let's talk about, you talk about how we're learning more about the brain in the past 30 years than we have over the past 3,000 and that's led to some fascinating discoveries about what moves us as social creatures. what does move us in? >> we think the voice in our head is really important. we're learning most of the action happens down below in our emotions, intuitions, cognitive biases. one of the things i try to do is take this research from all different fields and put it into one place and show how we're rational and emotional at the same time. i'm not the most emotional guy in the world. my wife says me writing a book about emotion is like gandhi writing about gluttony. it's not what i am, but that's what the research shows us. if you want to understand business or politics, you have to understand what's happening down on a conscious level. >> i've got a son that's got
asbergers. the doctors were explaining to us that human beings give 10,000 signals in one-minute conversation and they're all sub conscious. we all pick up the sub conscious signals, except these kids don't and that's why they have trouble being social creatures because as you said, most of what we do, most of how we understand and grasp things comes from our sub conscious. what our brain sort of absorbs, but doesn't push to the front. >> right. scientists showed me a video of a girl with williams syndrome, so the girl has no interest in material objects. only wants to look in people's eyes. i'm looking at this video thinking this is every senator i've ever covered. they have all these incredible social skills, but what bugs me is when they turn to
policymaking, these politicians who are the most socially attuned people on earth suddenly become almost dehumanized when thinking about issues like russia, iraq, where we went in with the military and really didn't understand the psychological and cultural realities there. and in schools, we've spent 30 years trying to do school reform and tried all the bureaucratic reforms, but we've all skirted the crucial issue, the individual relationship between a teacher and student. people learn from people they love. in our world, washington, if you talk about love at a congressional hearing, they look at you like you're oprah and part of the book is to show people this stuff is pretty important. >> and david wright's in here. we've taken 12 million pieces of information per minute, but we're only conscious of 40. >> oh, my gosh. david, i'm still thinking about
what you said your wife said about the concept of you writing this book. so, what did you learn about yourself and especially on the emotional side? in doing this. >> now you're playing oprah? >> no. this is david brooks. i want to hear about this side of him. and he wrote "the social animal" and that whole concept of emotion. >> i'm going to try. there's a possible scan research where they took guys like me, put them in a brain scan machine, had them watch a horror movie and had them describe their feelings to their wives and they are identical. sheer terror. i'm sort of like that. the process of being around these scientists for the last four years has made me much more aware of psychology. even looking at the world at what's happening in the middle east and you see an emotional contingent from country to
country. i have to say, i'm still not the most emotive person on earth. we have certain habits are wired deep into us, but it's something i'm trying to work on. but i'm aware of a different level of reality. >> john heilemann, who is not aware of many layers of reality. >> david, you were just talking about the political applications or contacts for this book. i'm curious as to how looking through this prism, you explain the success of different politicis. bill clinton. an emotionally attuned politician. on the other hand, barack obama, who's basically a vulcan. how do you explain those two guys can both become so successful and so different in terms of emotional context and expression? >> you learn this in business and politics. there's no one personality type that leads to success. but one of the things we do is have a template in our head for
competence. what do you think it is at that moment? it can change depending on the demands. there's a scientist at princeton who gave people a one-second glimpse of two rival candidates in far away races and said, who strikes you as more comp tant. the research subjects could predict with 70% accuracy who was going to win. he gave the same faces to people in argentina, in soviet georgia, they, too, could predict with 70% accuracy. these decisions are rational and intuitive and we have very strong sense when we look at a face, is that person like me? what do we want from a candidate at that moment and there's not one answer to that question. it changes by circumstances and who the author is, but i will say that all politicians i've covered and even obama, who's emotionally reserved, they have this phenomenal ability to read
other people. they can enter other people's minds and sort of merge along and reflect back what they hear and that's what makes them good politicians. >> david, who is there in public life who you think has a very deep understanding of the balance of reason and emotion an uses it effectively? >> clinton had a galloping emotional side. the story i tell, i was in a boston hotel lobby and he happened to be walking through and he started praising me for a column i'd written praising him, which he thought was very astute. but as the crowd gathers because bill clinton's there, he starts backing away so everyone can hear what he's saying, so, he's talking just to me, but he's like 80 feet away from me. he wanted to just embrace the whole crowd. that is an incredible awareness of how to bring people into you. he is the one in our lifetime who really has this ability.
my armchair diagnosis of obama having covered him these years is that he's a very complicated person with many different selves. we have many different personalities aroused by different contexts. it also means he's rarely all in. he rarely committed 100% because there's always another part of him sort of analyzing and stepping back. >> are you surprised by the president's inability to make the dramatic decision on you say he's not all in, but a lot of democrats are just stunned at how attentive this president has been. the hope and change president. but you look at afghanistan. and we're in this ugly middle ground. you look at entitlements. we keep waiting for him to show courage on entitlements. the budget. the guy's bragging about cutting home heating oil assistance to the poor.
are you surprised what you've seen over the past two and a half years by just how difficult this man finds it to make a bold decision? >> right, and shows how complicated we are. in the first six months of his term, he had 131 major initiatives. and now, they've pulled back completely. they're verging on passivity and over overly cautious. i think that's partly the election. he wants to stay with the independent voters. the whole tone of the administration has utterly shifted from rampant boldness to passivity. it's going to be a problem to run for re-election in that way. >> you say of newt gingrich, quote, i wouldn't let that guy run a 7/11 let alone a country. why would you not trust? haley barbour, you said he looks
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primary voters still have an affinity towards george bush. >> i don't think the word is affinity. george bush gave us obama, okay? whether you like it or not? without george bush, we don't have obama. so, i've never been a fan of george bush, i've liked some of his policies, but what he really did is gave us obama. >> historian. >> that's a guy that's playing to the republican base. getting serious. >> exactmundo. what's the duration of that word?
fonzi? >> circa 1978. let's get a check of "business before the bell" with pinky -- >> she doesn't know who pinky is. >> what's going on? >> first, japan, i know you have talked about the fact we saw an economic, a market rebound. it just depends every single day on the headlines we're getting, but basically, it's become -- to what's going on. maybe the markets are looking more at numbers and less at emotion. according to one firm, 3% of our investments go there. 30% of the revenues for the s&p 500, the biggest 500 companies in america, come from overseas, but only 1.5% of their revenues come from japan. japan's economy is less than 10%. you can't diminish that, but
people are taking a little more of a look. obviously, when you get more headlines on radiation, panic could set back in, but for now, people focusing more on facts and less on fear. that means a bit of a rebound here. second story though, and you guys have to watch this one. this is the more important story. the middle east once again, it's moving to the front corner of oil. it's up 1.52. oil is a big story. bahrain's markets are shut down. you have a state of martial law. people start to see issues. the final thing here in the u.s.a., fed added in additional references to inflation, which is the big fear and today, we got the producer price numbers. they rose 1.6% last month. they were only supposed to rise six tenths of the percent.
ben bernanke will say that was food and fuel, it's transitory, don't worry about it. >> what's oil looking like? >> oil's up. right now, 1.54. just below 100. but oil is going to focus on issues in the middle east and in particular, bahrain and what goes on with the saudi arabian troop invoolve. . >> thank you. >> and the new home construction going to its second lowest level ever. not great news. >> that was bad news. >> thank you so much. our next guest directed a number of hollywood blockbuster movies. yes, i see pinky. then a life changing moment prompted him to sell his mansion and walk away from it all. >> we shall return. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 what if every atm was free ? tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 if you could use any atm, at any bank, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 anywhere in the world... tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 without having to pay to access your own money.
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when success came my way, i bought a bigger house and more stuff. i was flying privately everywhere. vacationing, looking for properties, but something odd happened to me when i moved into my first beverly hills house that kind of took the edge off my buzz. i was standing alone in the entrance foyer after the movers left and was struck with a clear, strange feeling. i was no happier. >> there you go. 43 past the hour. that was a scene from a new documentary, "i am," in which tom shadyak tells of a life altering event that changed his perspective tcompletely. i love that. i love the concept, but it was quite a road to this revelation, was it not? >> i was actually changing over the course of 10 or 12 years,
simplifying my life over ideas what i thought true wealth was. but it was a bike accident where i got a post concussion syndrome. a condition where symptoms of a concussion just don't go away. i thought i was going to die. i was facing my own death. that compelled me, kind of dropped me from my head to heart and talk about the changes i was going through. >> you made the decision to give up the mansions. >> yeah. >> to give up the opulence. >> i went from a 17,000 square foot estate to a step down to basically a mobile home community. it's about 1,000 square feet. a beautiful community. but rather than moving away from something, i look at it as embracing something different. i have a group of families that i know. when i lived in beverly hills, i
never met my neighbors. i now know them. it brought me a sense of joy and feeling i didn't have. >> what was the biggest relief? when you left the big house an moved to the trailer park? >> first of all, i had to get over fear. culture said, are you crazy? you're stepping into insanity and the gates, the walls come down and you actually meet your neighbors. once you get over that fear, then it's a beautiful experience. it was really just getting over the idea that what my culture had taught me was a successful life. it really was different for me. >> what did you miss? >> i don't miss a lot. i gave up flying privately. it's a bit of a challenge. >> that's interesting. >> just have a trailer and a jet. everything would be fine. >> seriously. >> i actually could, but i choose not to. because of the resources it uses. i think i have a responsibility
to use my share, you know? while we're figuring out how to come up with alternative fuels. i don't have to fly privately. it's not a safety issue. >> is there a religious component to this? jesus would say it's easier for a camel to get through an eye of the needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. again, you're talking about it, how wealth is a burden. >> well said. i wouldn't call it a religious component, but moral. i was raised catholic. you're not to store up treasures on earth. i've been taught to store up many treasures on earth where there's giving moth much to destroy. zwr what happened to all your money? >> it's going to people that need it more than i do. freeing slaves. it's gone to the group invisible children, to try to end the longest running war in africa. going to people and causes that need it more than i do. the question i ask myself and i
think we'd all benefit is how much is enough? what is enough? >> so, what is enough? >> i think whatever your heart tells you, the gentleman on before now showing that the emotions are dictating what the brain does. it's what the heart tells you is enough. this isn't a move toward suffering. i still lead a very joyous, beautiful life. my passions are expressed and explored fully. beyond that, money doesn't make you happier. >> you were a pretty successful player in the hollywood blockbuster machine. doing extremely well. in addition to having given up a will the of your material wealth, when you look back on hollywood, what do you think of the hollywood culture that you were once a big part of? >> you know, the people in hollywood that i know are wonderful. they're beautiful. they're artistic. they care about justice. but i think we're all you know, kind of in this paradigm where
we see wealth not in its truest form. we see it as this accumulation of things. to the victor belongs its spoils. i think the word spoil is very promine appropriate. this is not a story about judging others and what they have. that's up to their own hearts and their needs. i simply share my story that the more emt tty i bebecame, i felt more full. >> we have been materialistic to the point of excess. everyone needs to feel they have cars and flat screens even if they can't afford them because it makes them feel better. the burden is off you when you talk away all the trappings? >> there's a complexity that happens when you have that much stuff. i had 17 people working for me. i had a gardener an the gardener
had a gardener. >> some people would say, that's life, i've arrived, i wish i could have that. >> that's the illusion, so therefore those who don't have what i had participate in this vision because as long as you envy what you had, you create an energy that perpetuates that. >> did your family call you? was there an intervention? i'm serious because you have done something that you felt strongly about that we think is very commendable, but there's always people around you saying come on, you don't want to give up the money. >> when you have money, people are around you trying to be a part of it. >> my family started st. jude research hospital, a hospital that treats kids with cancer for free. my dad started with danny thomas. >> really? >> yeah. my dad ran the hospital for 13 years. >> st. jude's? >> yeah, my brother runs it right now. >> that's fantastic. >> it's a wonderful organization
and i think the world can run that way. where nobody's getting independently wealthy in stuff, but because they're watching kids with cancer be helped and healed. that's the kind of wealth i think as a society, we can build a truer society. in the documentary, we examine this as a larger issue. what has gone wrong in our world and i think it's this. >> the documentary is "i am," tom shadyak. really nice to meet you. we'll be right back. announcer ] opportunity is a powerful force. set it in motion... and it goes out into the world like fuel for the economy. one opportunity leading to another... and another. we all have a hand in it. because opportunity can start anywhere, and go everywhere. let's keep it moving. ♪
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welcome back. let's start with john heilemann. he's got something on his ipad. >> there it is. that is what i learned today. mika brzezinski is a big fan and m modelled her life after pinky. >> what did you learn? >> we have the same view of buying funture. >> yeah. do you just go and buy it? >> give me something and deliver. if they can't deliver in two hours, i don't want it. >> if they can't, i don't want to see it. don't show me something that can't be delivered in two hours. >> you order one of those couches, we can get it to you in five weeks. >> seriously, who thinks that much about furniture?